Psalms – Prayers of Honesty and Praise
Our world begs to be served. Our world teaches us that we deserve to “have it our way”. We expect great service, even demand it on occasion at places of business where we eat, where we stay in travel, and how we travel. We, because “we deserve to have it our way”, grumble when life does not go our way in the way we expect to be served.
Because of our worldview, we tend to behave as if God is our servant who meets all our needs…as we see needs and wants. We treat the God who created us as if He should serve us. We ask for things that we want and pout if we don’t get it. We bargain with God. “If I do this hard thing, God, then I will expect You to do what I am asking you to do.”
Yikes, do you see where this kind of thinking is going? It is not going where you think it will go. The King of kings and Lord of lords does not serve us. We serve Him. We focus on what HE wants and obey readily. Is He capable and willing to give us what we need? Yes, by all means. But God decides what we need most and provides when it is appropriate…in His time, for our best.
Should we stop asking, then? No. We learn, grow and mature as we look to the Father with childlike faith. We trusts that he hears our requests but in the requesting, saying it out loud, we learn the difference in what we really need and what is only a desire that might not be good for us. When we pray specifically, the Holy Spirit guides us as we pray and helps us to see the reality of our basic needs.
When we say yes to God and become His child through the redeeming grace of Christ we become a new creature with a new view of things. We learn a Biblical view that is counter or opposite to world view. One of our basic needs, as a follower of Christ is to serve, not to be served. We want to contribute. We want to make a difference in someone else’s life by being kind, generous, and loving because that is what Jesus did for us. We want what God wants. We want to follow what God says and how Jesus taught us to behave. We want to love like Jesus loves, sacrificially and unconditionally. We want to point others to Jesus, to show how He thinks, and how we can follow Him. We want to serve.
Servants of a king or ruler keep their eyes focused on the One they serve, ready to leap into action when the king’s eyes look to them. What he asks or merely motions, they do it readily out of respect with fear of losing their position. As servants of the living God, we focus on our Savior, Lord and King of kings and Lord of lords, ready to serve with the whisper of His voice or the nod of His head from a place of love and devotion for the One who saved us from death. We look to Jesus and listen for His Holy Spirit with anticipated joy and awe of the One who suffered and died on a cross for us. We serve from a place of intimate love. We serve from a place of intimacy in our relationship with Jesus.
We can never repay God for all He has done for us. He doesn’t’ expect us to save or redeem ourselves. That work was done by Jesus Christ, His Son, who was the only perfect sacrifice for all our sin. What God does want is our undivided attention, to trust Him, to love Him back, and to KNOW Him. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10). Jesus also taught us how to be a servant. Read (Philippians 2) He came to serve, not to be served. (Mark 10:45).
So, now that we have a grip on what a servant really is to God, let us read one of my favorite psalms…
Psalm 143, The Message
A David Psalm
1-2 Listen to this prayer of mine, God;
pay attention to what I’m asking.
Answer me—you’re famous for your answers!
Do what’s right for me.
But don’t, please don’t, haul me into court;
not a person alive would be acquitted there.
3-6 The enemy hunted me down;
he kicked me and stomped me within an inch of my life.
He put me in a black hole,
buried me like a corpse in that dungeon.
I sat there in despair, my spirit draining away,
my heart heavy, like lead.
I remembered the old days,
went over all you’ve done, pondered the ways you’ve worked,
Stretched out my hands to you,
as thirsty for you as a desert thirsty for rain.
7-10 Hurry with your answer, God!
I’m nearly at the end of my rope.
Don’t turn away; don’t ignore me!
That would be certain death.
If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice,
I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you.
Point out the road I must travel;
I’m all ears, all eyes before you.
Save me from my enemies, God—
you’re my only hope!
Teach me how to live to please you,
because you’re my God.
Lead me by your blessed Spirit
into cleared and level pastureland.
11-12 Keep up your reputation, God—give me life!
In your justice, get me out of this trouble!
In your great love, vanquish my enemies;
make a clean sweep of those who harass me.
And why? Because I’m your servant.
O Lord, you have given life to me in so many ways as you continue to transform me into all you intended for me to be and do. Thank you, Lord. I woke to a beautiful morning that did indeed remind me of your wonderful love and care for me. My desire is to hear you say, well done my faithful servant, on the day I see you face to face. But in the meantime, my eyes are focused on what you have for me right now. I am your servant. I wait with expectancy and joy for the wave of your hand, your voice of direction or the look in your eyes for what you want me to do next.
In Jesus Name, Amen
And I’m singing an old song I discovered as a young adult…I Am A Servant by Larry Norman
I am a servant, I am listening for my name
I sit here waiting, I’ve been looking at the game
That I’ve been playing, and I’ve been staying much the
When you are lonely, you’re the only one to blame
I am a servant, I am waiting for the call
I’ve been unfaithful, so I sit here in the hall
How can you use me when I’ve never given all
How can you choose me when you know I’d quickly fall
So you feed my soul and you make me grow
And you let me know you love me
And I’m worthless now, but I’ve made a vow
I will humbly bow before thee
O please use me, I am lonely
I am a servant getting ready for my part
There’s been a change, a rearrangement in my heart
At last I’m learning, there’s no returning once I start
To live’s a privilege, to love is such an art
But I need your help to start
O please purify my heart, I am your servant